One Sacramento State alumna is taking the fight for healthy lifestyles to the streets – more than 2,700 miles of them, to be exact.
On Jan. 28, Ari Ramos (’08, Communications) set out from Jacksonville, Fla., on a six-month, transcontinental trek across the United States to fulfill a lifelong dream and to raise awareness about childhood obesity.
Along the way, Ramos is stopping at elementary schools to tell students about healthy lifestyle choices. By Feb. 29 she had reached New Orleans, having logged more than 625 miles completely on foot.
“Even though I’m so tired physically, the next day I wake up and I’m ready to do it again,” Ramos says. “It’s funny what your body can get used to.”
So why would someone – even the most devoted runner – take on such a daunting, physically and mentally demanding endeavor?
Ramos says that her extensive background working in public health informed her personal mission. She says that patients would come frequently to the hospital with diseases and health issues that could be significantly alleviated by better diet and exercise – lifestyle habits that she says are best adopted at a young age.
In early January, Ramos decided it was time to couple her cause with a long-held dream: She left her job at Barton Health in South Lake Tahoe to fly to Florida, take up the mantle of healthy living, and carry it all the way across the country.
The task is monumental: In addition to the staggering distance, Ramos, armed with little more than a baby jogger full of supplies and some seriously sturdy running shoes, has had to cope with long, lonely days with the open road as her only company. She sets up her speaking engagements at elementary schools and is her own one-woman PR company; she relies on various hosts along the way for lodging and is chronicling her experience on social media.
“I feel very lucky, because a lot of people believe in my dream,” Ramos says. “People that don’t even know me are willing to go out of their way to make sure that I’m safe, that I have a place to stay. I’ve been very, very lucky so far.”
Despite the challenges, Ramos is resolute in her goal, learning more about herself with every mile she puts in the rear view. When she reaches her final destination – Ramos plans to finish her trek in San Francisco – she will have accomplished something few even imagine.
“I feel that following your dream regardless of how crazy it is, it’s going to be hard, like it’s been hard for me,” Ramos says, “but I feel like the reward in the end is much greater.”